The Brainerd Northside Neighborhood Association is calling for all its residents to be part of the organization.
All residents and businesses in north Brainerd may be a part of the association. The BNNA is a community-based organization involving residents, businesses, non-profits and faith communities residing in north Brainerd. The association represents neighbors on issues of positive neighborhood enhancement and preservation.
Jackie Froemming, BNNA president, said the association has gone through hard times with its membership and board members want to make changes to get more northside residents involved.
Changes will include having BNNA guest speakers at meetings, which now will be held monthly. The association meets at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of every month at the First Congregational Church. The next meeting is Jan. 15. Guest speakers will be Elizabeth Harris, Brainerd police crime prevention specialist, and Troy Schreifels, Brainerd police liaison officer, who will discuss the Neighborhood Watch program.
Sydney Stock (left) and Connor Gunsbury posed for a picture in August at the Brainerd Northside Neighborhood Association's Neighborhood Block Party, celebrated on National Night Out.
"Obviously, we would like to have as many residents as possible attending the January meeting since the association is considering starting this program on the northside," Froemming said.
Pat Gimbel, who has been a BNNA member since its inception in 2000, said there are about 400-500 residences on the northside, which includes the area north of Washington Street, south of Bluff Avenue, east of the Mississippi River and west of Terrace Avenue, also known as Evergreen Cemetery Hill.
Gimbel said it's important for residents to be involved in their communities and to be proud of their homes. She said neighbors don't always get along, but they can work together to improve their neighborhoods.
Carla Staffon-Fossum, another longtime BNNA member, said the northside is an old business neighborhood and that it's important for current residents to preserve and enhance the neighborhood. Otherwise, she said, "It'll go down the tube. We need to keep up the neighborhood's appearance and preserve its history."
The party drew quite a crowd.
Froemming said several critical issues are dividing the neighborhood, such as the closure of Whittier School.
"The association is something that can tie us together, even if we disagree," Froemming said. "We want the best for our neighborhood. We want to improve the neighborhood, do things to make it safer and to make Gregory Park look nicer.
"Plus, being a part of the association will help people get to know each other better and for them to be more neighborly."
Froemming said other goals this year include raising money to improve all of the parks in the neighborhood and to recognize homeowners who make improvements to their homes or yards.
Brainerd Northside Neighborhood Association members lined up for food at the association's Neighborhood Block Party, celebrated on National Night Out in August.
"We're proud of the old homes in the neighborhood that have been kept up," Froemming said. "We'd like to place a sign in the yards to recognize those who make improvements."
Northside residents are welcome to e-mail comments and suggestions to the BNNA at email@example.com. They also can send an e-mail requesting that their e-mail address be added to the BNNA distribution list to receive notifications from the association.
Main annual events sponsored by the BNNA include a neighborhood potluck in February, Cleanup Day in May, Garage Sale Day in June and a Neighborhood Block Party celebrated on National Night Out in August.
The association also works on beautification projects for Gregory Park, which has included donating money for the water fountain makeover and volunteering to help with landscaping projects. In 2007, the association received its first award from Brainerd Parks and Recreation for its work on beautifying Gregory Park.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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